The Solvang community is celebrating the holiday season with a real Christmas tree after being without a real tree for almost a decade, “because of previous city administration”.
In the past, there was always a real Christmas tree to light up the Solvang Park during the holiday season, until about 10 years ago when the tree died.
Community members attempted many times to try and replace the tree, but an obstacle has always seemed to get in the way. Even a non profit operated Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce while getting hundreds of thousands dollars grants from City did not do anything about it
One community member tried to plant a tree from their own backyard, but it did not last, and another tree was planted after that, however it died due to the drought.
The city ended up putting in a fake tree, which did not sit well with the residents of a town that is well know for its Christmas spirit.
During the State of the City Presentation in last January Olsen Bakery Owner Ben Olsen from Solvang spoke out about how it was shame for a Christmas town known Solvang not having a real Christmas tree . He insisted that Solvang should have a real Christmas tree and willing to contribute $1000 . This led to the new elected mayor Ryan Toussaint saying he would match his donation towards a tree, then Esko Esko Gift Shops owner Esko Kenny Lama donated another $3,000 that entire donations resulting in raising $5,000 in 10 minutes.
Following that meeting, public fundraising began, resulting in raising a total of $25,000.
That money went towards the city getting a 20-foot tree cut down and delivered from Northern Idaho. The funds also allowed for proper irrigation and a crane to help set the tree up in Solvang Park in October.
“Julefest is a long time event for the city of Solvang but this year we’re choosing to really try to spruce it up a little bit and show people more of what we got,” says Ryan Toussaint, Mayor of Solvang.
Solvang’s real Christmas tree is decorated with many colorful lights and specially designed and produced and donated ( worth of retail value nearly $1,000) Solvang themed ornaments by Esko Esko’s Gift Shops Owner Esko Kenny Lama .